People of all ages are contracting COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus, but those over age 80 and those with underlying health conditions are particularly vulnerable to the worst cases of the disease, according to health professionals.
As New Mexico state, county and local officials struggle to impose restrictions designed to limit the exposure to coronavirus and the spread of the infectious disease, towns like Taos are struggling to ensure the most vulnerable are take care of.
As of Saturday (March 21), New Mexico had 57 cases of COVID-19 including three people who were tested in Taos County.
Taos Elders and Neighbors, a monthly membership organization open to any senior that matches their needs with volunteers, issued a statement Saturday (March 21) with new guidelines.
"At this point social isolation is the most responsible action for our community," said the email from TENT organizers. TENT volunteers will, for the time being, only drive members in an emergency situation, which must be approved by a volunteer coordinator. TENT also waived membership fees for the next two months.
Volunteers who are well and have not traveled out of state in the last few weeks, and following all state-required coronavirus precautions, can still help by delivering groceries, medicine and supplies to seniors, relieving caregivers, checking in by phone on homebound seniors and performing "critical home maintanance" for members.
The Taos County's four senior centers are continuing to serve lunches, available for pickup during weekdays from noon to 1 p.m. and working to deliver meals to seniors around the county who lack transportation. If you are a senior or know someone who needs meals, call 575-758-4091 to arrange for help.
Taos County Sheriff’s Office is available to do a welfare check on a family member, friend, or neighbor, in particular those who are elderly or disabled, who you haven't seen or heard from. Deputies will provide assistance to them as needed, according to a statement from the county. The number to call is 575-758-2216.
Taos County "is continuing to implement measures to help slow the spread of the virus, as well as provide for the safety of the first responders and medical workers within the county," according to a statement from the county on Friday (March 20). "One such measure is that our 911 Dispatch Center is diligently screening all calls for medical service to get more accurate information to all the first responders working in the field. This allows the responders to better care for the individual and to wear the appropriate personal protection equipment. "
Seniors or anyone else exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 such as a fever over 100.4, difficulty breathing, dry cough and fatigue, should not go directly to the hospital.
First, call the New Mexico Coronavirus hotline, to see what you should do next: 1-855-600-3453.
Taos Community Fund has established an the COVID-19 emergency fund to collect donations to help where needed during the coronavirus outbreak.
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